The stock exchange frenzy around GameStop has been years in the making, reflecting the parallel development of 2 incredibly online communities: users of the stock trading app Robinhood and members of the Reddit message board r/wallstreetbets.
Established within 15 months of each other, Robinhood and r/wallstreetbets each grew slowly initially and then in an abrupt enter current months as the coronavirus pandemic kept many people in the house, including those searching for new hobbies.
Here’s a timeline of how r/wallstreetbets, also referred to as WSB, and Robinhood became.
January 2012: The “wallstreetbets” subreddit is created by Jaime Rogozinski, a business owner living at the time in Washington, D.C. Its initial motto is lively, with little hint of what is to come: “Inspired by profits seasons. Let’s play.” (Later, the slogan will change to something more sinister-sounding: “It resembles 4chan found a Bloomberg terminal.”) The conversation board will become understood by the shorthand WSB.
Late 2012: The culture of WSB begins to take shape. Although it’s unorganized and small, it draws in people who aren’t thinking about reasonably dull financial investments, like index funds, or in standard methods of measuring the worth of stocks. And Reddit’s mainly self-regulating communities make sure that users set the culture. One popular early post is a “fantastic video” in which financier Mark Cuban states “diversification is for idiots.”
April 2013: Robinhood is founded in the San Francisco Bay Location. At first it’s simply a method to track stocks, but the company is developing toward the idea of being an online brokerage with no commissions. It targets younger potential financiers with a mobile-only trading platform, and it will go on to become a preferred with WSB users.
Oct. 14, 2013: Robinhood wins approval from the Financial Market Regulatory Authority to run as a stock brokerage, enabling it to broaden beyond simply tracking stocks.
February 2014: Hardly 2 years old, WSB goes beyond 5,000 subscribers on Reddit, according to SubredditStates, a website that tracks message boards. It’s still tiny by Reddit standards, but the message board has a particular rhythm down: conversation of incomes, advice about how to trade off the news and tales about a “kid” who lost $100,000 by wagering incorrect on Twitter.
December 2014: After years of advancement, Robinhood launches its very first trading app to the general public on Apple’s iOS app store. Reviews are favorable, and it’s a difficulty to other online brokerages that charge fees for each transaction, such as E-Trade.
April 2015: By now, a popular brand-new function is starting to appear on WSB often, the label “YOLO,” short for “you just live as soon as.” It starts to catch the culture of the message board, in which individuals validate taking big, dangerous bets on the concept that financiers ought to live it up.
June 2015: Robinhood wins an Apple Design Award.
August 2015: Robinhood launches its app on Google’s Android os, producing a much larger possible consumer base. Within 2 weeks, the variety of everyday active users almost triples, from 67,063 to 176,883, according to data from the app analytics business Apptopia. WSB, on the other hand, has about 18,000 subscribers.
Oct. 24, 2015: Bigger names begin to notice WSB. Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive best understood at the time for raising drug costs, gets an invitation to sign up with WSB while he’s doing a Reddit Q&A. “I’m looking at it,” Shkreli responds. His character winds up as a clear fit with WSB customers, and ultimately someone with his name ends up being a WSB mediator.
Might 2016: Robinhood wins a design award from Google.
Nov. 9, 2016: As the votes are being counted in the presidential election, the No. 2 post on WSB is a proposition to make Republican politician Donald Trump a moderator of the message board. Trump “has developed some terrific trading chances for us today and in the coming weeks. As appreciation, and to Make WSB Great Again, I thus petition that he become a WSB mod and WSB god,” a user wrote.
January 2017: WSB crosses the 100,000- customer limit. Robinhood hits 200,000 daily active users.
the only financing subreddit I trust is/ r/wallstreetbets
— evan (@evanextreme) June 12, 2017
April 2017: Robinhood, still a small start-up and wanting to expand both its user base and its resources, raises $110 million in venture funding that values the company at around $1.3 billion. The evaluation makes it another of Silicon Valley’s billion-dollar “unicorns.”
July 25, 2017: An early sign of WSB’s impact on the market appears. Some Reddit users had actually stated for months that they had been buying stock in the chipmaker AMD, believing it was undervalued, and they are rewarded when the business says in its revenues report that it’s raising its sales projection. “Congrats to r/WallStreetbets!” reporter Joe Weisenthal tweets.
December 2017: Robinhood presents choices trading, a riskier form of buying stocks than merely purchasing them. Choices are agreements allowing financiers to purchase or offer shares at specific rates; financiers use them as a sort of bet on the stocks’ instructions. The agreement might be worthless if the stock relocations in the other direction. Options can produce high losses if individuals don’t use them correctly.
March 9, 2018: WSB users come to the defense of Shkreli on the day he’s sentenced to federal prison after a jury found him guilty of fraud. As typical, it’s unclear just how much they’re joking.
May 2018: Robinhood raises another $363 million, which values the company at $5.6 billion. Robinhood has 664,775 daily active users, according to Apptopia, and it remains in the middle of a down slide that will cut its user base closer to 500,000 people within months.
October 2018: WSB now has more than 300,000 users, about the like the number of Bloomberg terminal customers, and the forum begins to get more media attention.
Nov. 9, 2018: Though Robinhood isn’t a star yet, its company model is coming under more analysis. The Wall Street Journal information in story how Robinhood sells “order circulation” to electronic trading giants such as Citadel Securities. Regular investors might pay a slightly even worse cost while trading, while giants make money through more efficient trades. Robinhood had actually divulged the questionable however legal practice method back in 2013.
June 2019: Retail is plunging nationwide, and GameStop shares drop dramatically after the company announces poor revenues and cancels its investor dividend payments. Mike Hickey, an expert for the research study and investment management firm The Criteria Company, states he cut his expectations for the business “as business burns to the ground.”
April 1, 2019: WSB ranks No. 2 across all of Reddit’s message boards for the number of comments each day, reflecting not only its popularity but also the progressively heated argument that is becoming its hallmark. Later, it will in some cases be No. 1.
July 2019: Robinhood gets another financial investment, this time $323 million, at an assessment of $7.6 billion.
August 2019: Michael Burry, an investor made popular by the book and film “The Big Short,” reveals that he has actually obtained a stake in GameStop. Before long, WSB users take notification.
September 2019: The methods of Robinhood and the frequently toxic language on WSB get more analysis from NBC News and other outlets, including screenshots boasting about major losses and regular jokes about suicide.
In the exact same month, a WSB user publishes a screenshot with a list of GameStop trades and a recommendation to Burry’s position on the same stock. The user will go on to produce lots of monthly screenshots of financial investments in the stock, the most current of which was published Thursday afternoon.
December 2019: Robinhood introduces a brand-new function that allows users to purchase fractions of shares, making it simpler for people with a restricted spending plan to invest in any company.
March 2020: An abrupt surge in interest pushes WSB above 1 million subscribers after closures related to the coronavirus pandemic begin keeping many individuals at home. Among them is Dave Portnoy, the founder of the Barstool Sports site and a regular target of criticism for his company’s handling of gender and racial problems. He turns to the stock exchange as a replacement for sports betting and has a large audience on social media.
In the very same month, Robinhood experiences a spike, exceeding 2 million users, according to Apptopia. Online search engine interest also jumps, according to Google Pattern information.
April 3, 2020: GameStop’s stock cost strikes a low of $2.57
May 2020: Robinhood raises $280 countless financing that values the company at $8.3 billion.
June 2020: A multimonth rally in U.S. stocks that had decreased at the start of the pandemic is seen as partly the result of amateur financiers’ delving into the marketplace. Deutsche Bank expert Parag Thatte points to Robinhood trader information to reveal that institutional financiers are going after amateur investors.
Also in June, Robinhood user Alex Kearns, 20, passes away by suicide in Illinois after he believed he had lost numerous thousands of dollars. In a note, he blamed Robinhood.
Nov. 16, 2020: Ryan Cohen, a financier and entrepreneur, launches a project to get GameStop to reinvent itself, sending out a letter to the board of directors recommending it might end up being the Amazon of gaming. Cohen gets a board seat in reaction.
December 2020: Robinhood works with the investment bank Goldman Sachs to help it end up being an openly traded business, according to Reuters. It is likewise fined $65 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission for deceptive financiers about how it earns money and how it executes trades, although it admits no misdeed.
Jan. 14, 2021: The battle between GameStop brief sellers and WSB users starts in earnest, as purchases by both sides send GameStop stock rising by 27 percent in one day. CNBC’s Jim Cramer credits “open plotting” by Reddit users and is blown away: “It’s incredible to watch. I believe they’re being successful beyond their wildest dreams.”
Jan. 19, 2021: Citron Research, a short-selling financial investment company, tweets that GameStop buyers are “the suckers at this poker game,” a remark that just seems to motivate WSB users even more. Citron later calls Reddit users “a mad mob” and swears to quit commenting openly about GameStop.
Jan. 22, 2021: GameStop trading ends up being so volatile that it is stopped a minimum of four times; its stock surges by 51 percent in a day and closes at a then-record. WSB users celebrate and vow more, with one user writing, “GUYS PLEASE HOLD< I GOT TO PAY OF MY TRAINEE LOANNS."
Jan. 25, 2021: GameStop shares rise again, and the short-squeeze battle goes into another week.
Jan. 27-28, 2021: Whatever seems to reach a boiling point at the same time. WSB goes offline for several hours as its moderators reach the volume of product being published by its now 5.2 million subscribers, while Robinhood and other brokerages enforce stringent limits on trades including GameStop, triggering a backlash by WSB users and others who think the brokerages are siding with hedge-fund short-sellers.